In the Architecture, Engineering and Construction world today, there are many ideas of what Building Information Modeling, or BIM, actually is. Not too long ago, BIM seemed to focus strictly on the design and construction of buildings. Within the past few years, however, there has been a shift— the “Building” in BIM has gone from representing an actual, physical building to referring to any building project. In other words, the word “Building” is used as a verb. BIM now focuses on any project that involves designing and constructing—roads, bridges, plants, and of course, buildings.
Another change is that BIM is becoming more of a business model, as opposed to just a method. Implementing BIM is a major undertaking for any organization. It is not a matter of simply buying a license of Revit and beginning to work in Revit instead of CAD. BIM implementation requires a change both in the overall culture and in the mindset of an organization. This change must be championed by management and driven from the top down.
BIM focuses on virtual design and construction. In fact, some people actually define BIM as “virtual design and construction,” or VDC. This is because, essentially, BIM is the process of modeling all aspects of building and infrastructure projects. This allows for planning, designing, building, and managing based on a single building information model. The model can then be used for several purposes. For example, the model can be used for analyses, fabrication, and construction, as well as operations and maintenance.
As far as defining BIM, a broad definition is “an integrated workflow built on coordinated, reliable information about a project from design through construction and into operation.” If you are just implementing BIM or thinking about implementing BIM, the most important thing is to have a plan. Your organization should develop a BIM implementation plan.
And once again, this implementation plan should be fully supported by management and driven from the top down. While everyone should play a part in developing the plan, management must be on board and completely support the initiative.
Depending on the region, BIM implementation may be different, as there are varying standards and mandates around the world. These should be considered when implementing BIM.
Additionally, there are multiple books, online classes, and consultants that can help companies review and assess business processes, as well as aid in the development of an implementation strategy. Once a plan has been established and BIM technologies are chosen to carry out the BIM processes, there must be standards and protocols developed for the use of those technologies. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
As long as you have a team that is eager to take on the challenge, you are sure to develop a plan, follow through with it, and have great success implementing BIM.
Executing Your BIM Strategy
Finally, don’t just jump into a project that requires BIM. As with any project, understanding the requirements and scope of work is a necessity. In addition to other contracts that may be created, it is important to create a BIM execution plan. Essentially, a BIM execution plan specifies how BIM will be implemented on a project and how each member of the team will meet the requirements of the project. It is important to understand the roles and requirements of a project in order to ensure that your organization can meet them.
With more and more firms implementing BIM, and with some regions of the world mandating BIM, it is a good time for your firm to embrace and use BIM, and help move the industry forward!
For more great articles like this one, check out Issue 14 of The Blast.